Watercress - Wātakirihi

Watercress is now grown commercially and available all year round. It also grows in streams and ditches, however, it should only be taken from clean water.

What to look for

Choose fresh looking bunches with healthy stems. The leaves should be green, showing no signs of yellowing or wilting.


Available: all year
High season: May to December.


Refrigerate in paper bags. Alternatively, if the roots are still attached, place in a jar of water and do not refrigerate. Use promptly.

How to prepare

Wash well. Remove woody stalks and discoloured leaves. Use the medium to thin stalks and the leaves. Discard only the very coarse stalks; add these to stocks and soups for extra flavour.

Ways to eat

The dark green leaves have a peppery flavour. It can be eaten raw in salads, sandwiches, wraps and rolls. It is often used as a garnish, or in smoothies or juices, added to boil ups, stews and braises, soups and sauces. Use in place of spinach in omelettes, quiches and pancake fillings.

Cooking methods

Boil, microwave, steam.


Watercress is a good source of folate, vitamin C and vitamin A (from beta-carotene). Glucosinolates are the phytonutrients plentiful in watercress.

Nutrition table

Nutrition Information        
Serving size: 1 cup chopped = 50g      
  Average Quantity % Daily Intake per serve Average Quantity  
per serving per 100g  
Energy (kJ/Cal) 46/11 1% 92/22  
Protein (g) 1.4 3% 2.8  
Fat, total (g) 0.2 0% 0.4  
 - saturated (g) 0.06 0% 0.13  
Available carbohydrate (g) 0.1 0% 0.2  
 - sugars (g) 0.1 0% 0.1  
Dietary Fibre (g) 1.7   3.3  
Sodium (mg) 8 0% 16.6  
Folate (µg)  140 70% RDI* 280 A good source of folate
Vitamin A Equiv. (µg) 413 55% RDI* 826 A good source of vitamin A
Vitamin C (mg) 38 94% RDI* 75 A good source of vitamin C
Niacin (mg) 0.4 4% RDI* 0.8  
Thiamin (mg) 0.06 5% RDI* 0.12  
Vitamin B6 (mg) 0.1 6% RDI* 0.19  
Calcium (mg) 26 3% RDI* 53  
Iron (mg) 1.1 9% RDI* 2.2  
Potassium (mg) 90   180  
Percentage Daily Intakes are based on an average adult diet of 8700 kJ 
Your daily Intakes may be higher or lower depending on your energy needs 
 *Recommended Dietary Intake (Average Adult)  
Source: FOODfiles 2018        



Display on refrigerated shelving with herbs and salad items. Watercress is highly perishable so buy small quantities regularly and ensure good stock rotation. If loose, bunch and display. Customers may not know how to use watercress, so use the QR code on labels.

Store at 0°C with a relative humidity of 90-100%.

Purchase watercress with the New Zealand GAP logo.